Artists

Debunk dah Funk: Rethinking Legends, Icons, & Rebels

https://vimeo.com/123808787

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Ray Ceasar’s cyborgs

As part of cyborgs discussion I found Ray Ceasar, a Toronto-based artist to be a fascinating example of hyperstition. Not only he invented his own origins claiming he was born a dog, but the whole world inhabited with bizarre creatures, cyborgs in fact. Notably, he got much of his inspiration from working in the children’s hospital in Toronto as a medical artist where he was capturing all medical procedures conducted on children and the results of those procedures. I think his works could be interpreted in Haraway’s way as illustrations of human fusion with biology and technology that results not only in distortion of the body but also in fractionation of identity (Ceasar himself had been diagnosed with disassociative identity disorder which he calls “a bliss”).

Exodus Study (2005), 12 x 12 inches, EDITION OF 20, Giclee Print on Entrada Paper

Exodus Study (2005), 12 x 12 inches, EDITION OF 20, Giclee Print on Entrada Paper

Introducing Suzy Lake at the AGO (ends March 22)

Over the reading break I had the pleasure of seeing a number of great exhibitions that are on at the AGO. One show that really stood out was Introducing Suzy Lake– a showcase of some of the work done by a photographer/performance artist Suzy Lake (who has lived and worked here in Montreal).

Much of her work has to do with concepts we discuss in class. Her work interrogates identity, gender using movement and space. You can also find more of her work here. The two works of hers that really stood out were the “Extended Breathing” series and the “Choreographies” installation.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 12.18.37 PM

“Extended Breathing” is a series of images created by Lake that explore long-exposure shots of her standing perfectly still in different spaces (both ‘public’ and ‘private’). The exposures, which last an hour, showcase a still image of Lake while her surroundings reveal an hour’s worth of daily motion. It really seemed like Lake was interrogating Lefebvre’s notion of spatial practice by taking an hour out of her routine motions to capture her stillness.

Another really cool installation that is up right now is “Choreographies”- a scaffolding structure created by Lake that acts like a life sized puppet theatre. In her Montreal studio, Lake had friends of her manipulate her limbs (she extended herself from the ‘theatre’ in a unitard) and recorded the motions her body made. This piece is all about exploring what can occur when you forfeit your own physical agency to others. It really resonated with me as an exploration of deliberate power in spaces. Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 12.17.16 PM

I really recommend seeing it if you find yourself in Toronto in the next few weeks!! All Images belong to Suzy Lake I got them from Suzylake.ca! Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 12.17.26 PM

Francesca Woodman / Documentary

If you are interested in Francesca Woodman I recommend this eerie documentary which presents her life through the discourse of her artist parents. The Woodmans (2010) is on Netflix. In case you don’t have access I found a free version on YouTube, except it comes with Spanish subtitles.

If Woodman interests you, I highly recommend An Hourglass Figure: On Photographer Francesca Woodmanan essay by poet and writer Ariana Reines. It is best work I have ever read on Woodman.

Francesca Woodman, Space2, 1976, black-and-white photograph, 5 2/5 in. x 5 1/5 in.

Francesca Woodman, Space2, 1976, black-and-white photograph, 5 2/5 in. x 5 1/5 in.

She and her figure, which is also her but is not, but which is also a she, and not an it. A problem as in, “How do you solve a problem like Maria,” and a problem as in a problem that is real.

She is a problem because she is a seducer, and I — I mean we — love to be seduced, though we also resent it, and she is a problem because she is a suicide, and suicides are seductive because we all want to die sometimes, and dead young women artists and dead women artists of any age are a problem because it has always been easier for this culture to love their artworks when they, the women, are not alive to interfere with our relations with them, and her precocity was and remains a problem because of its completeness and because precocity is also always resented and dismissed, and she is a problem because it has historically been too easy to praise what is dead and too difficult to nurture what lives …

… And by “she” as I said I mean the figure of her. I mean “Francesca Woodman” the name and everything it has come to signify, and her images and all the sensations they have produced and do produce, I mean every stupid thing and every true thing that has accreted around her aura and I mean the very idea of a figure in time, because time was her medium, not herself. Time itself was her medium. But also within her figure and enclosed within the aura of her figure is the fact that her body was the medium through which she transubstantiated or transfigured ordinary time into actual spirit …

What is Space?

Presenters: Dori Julian, Nick Frai, Ashley Plescia & Kamelia Dore

Lefebreves theories of space

Lefebvre’s theories of space

Henri Lefebvre provides three concepts of space; spatial practice (conceived space), representations of space (perceived space) and representational spaces (lived space). These three concepts provide a foundation for society to function. The most common form of space is spatial practice, which is the physical creation of a space. Examples of these can be buildings, parks, rivers, etc. It is a tangible space. The second form of space is the representations of space, which is the visual creations of space that are formulated by the mind. Examples of these can be maps, models, plans, etc. It is the mental space of the physical form. The third and most complicated form of space is representational spaces, which is the social space. Examples of these can be ideals, imagination, theory and visions, etc. The goal of this space is to reform a space, that is abandoned and mistreated, into something new, often for a social reason.

Dérive

Dérive

weather influences Dérive

weather influences Dérive

Dérive is an unplanned journey where the pilgrim withdraws from their life for a period to let the soul of the scenery and architecture entice and inspire them. Dérive is similar to art because factors such as weather (derive) and culture (art) have affects on it. As well, just like art it has become something that anyone can go on. It is subjective to the individual, for reasons such as the days vary in how long it takes to go on such a journey.

The SI (Situationist International) was an international organization whose goal was for social revolutionaries. It was composed of avant-garde artists, intellectuals, and political theorists. Guy Debord, the author of the reading “Theory of the Dérive and Definitions” was a member of this group and discussed the very notion of Dérive. At the beginning of their creation, it focused on the arts, especially redesigning the notion of art itself, such as unitary urbanism and psychogeography. It later shifted towards revolutionary and political theory. One of their spectacles: progressively increasing tendency towards the expression and mediation of social relations through objects (a unified critique of advanced capitalism). The SI aimed at putting Lefebvre’s three theories on space (conceived, perceived, and lived) into practice. They transformed urban space through altered, experimental use of the city, advancing the concept that society has the ability to create city space through bodily activities of dwelling and movement, and introducing case studies of sound and film art that aimed to expand the understanding of public space and sensations.

Still Life | Henri-Horace Roland de la Porte (1765)

Still Life | Henri-Horace Roland de la Porte (1765)

Still Life With Dralas | Marion Peck (2003)

Still Life With Dralas | Marion Peck (2003)

Two important terms to remember are Détournement and Situationism. Détournement is an artistic practice conceived by the Situationists for transforming artworks by creatively disfiguring them. Situationism is the theory that behavior is chiefly response to immediate situations. According to the Situationist International organization the two most important factors of détournement are the autonomous elements creating said piece, lose their autonomous meanings and there is an organization of another meaningful ensemble. Therefore in the end, Détournement is just a fancy word for remix. For the SI’s ideal society, everyone would be considered an artist. The idea of remixing and re using is appealing because there is always potential to reuse. Aside from art, this phenomenon has spread to music; through sampling and remixing, movies through remakes and recreations, and pretty much in all other aspects of life as well. With Lefebrve’s theores on space, we can easily transform any of the three forms of spaces and remix it into different art pieces, we are able to re appropriate spaces in order to achieve Detournement status.

Questions:

  1. How would you define space?
  2. Do you feel remixed products are original art?
  3. Do you ever feel constrained within the routes laid-out for us by the city?

Arcade Fire – My Body is a Cage

Hey y’all,

When we started last lecture, I couldn’t get this song out of my head and I thought the meaning was quite relevant. It kind of speaks upon the limits of the mind and body, further attempting to separate the two. I posted the lyrics below if you’re interested!

Cheers,

m

“My Body Is A Cage”

My body is a cage that keeps me
From dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

My body is a cage that keeps me
From dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

I’m standing on a stage
Of fear and self-doubt
It’s a hollow play
But they’ll clap anyway

My body is a cage that keeps me
From dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

You’re standing next to me
My mind holds the key

I’m living in an age
That calls darkness light
Though my language is dead
Still the shapes fill my head

I’m living in an age
Whose name I don’t know
Though the fear keeps me moving
Still my heart beats so slow

My body is a cage that keeps me
From dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

You’re standing next to me
My mind holds the key
My body is a

My body is a cage
We take what we’re given
Just because you’ve forgotten
That don’t mean you’re forgiven

I’m living in an age
That screams my name at night
But when I get to the doorway
There’s no one in sight

I’m living in an age
That laughs
When I’m dancing
With the one I love
But my mind holds the key

You’re standing next to me
My mind holds the key

Set my spirit free
Set my spirit free
Set my body free
Set my body free

Set my spirit free
Set my body free

Japanese Artist Megumi Igarashi Contests Arrest for “Vagina Kayak”

I recently came across This Article about Megumi Igarashi, a Japanese artist who was arrested in 2014 for an art piece where she paddled a “two-meter long 3D printed kayak modeled after her own genitals.”

Igarashi is interviewed in the article, and has a lot of interesting things to say about her experience of being a woman in Japan. I really admire the way she contextualizes her work within Japanese culture, and how she combines political issues with technology to create a new context for which we can view or understand Japanese womanhood. This article just made me think about our class today re: our discussion about who ‘belongs’ or feels ‘safe’ in what spaces. Particularly, Igarashi’s description of how pornography is advertising freely in an objectifying manor in Japan really made me question whether or not this setting can truly be “public” space (or, transportation service).

Check it out if you have a minute, it would be really interesting to hear your thoughts.